Safety and OSHA News

Injured in car crash while driving to work: Settlement awards employee $2 million

The coming and going rule usually prohibits workers’ compensation from covering injuries suffered while an employee is traveling to or from work. Why was this case an exception? 

Jairo Solis, a public works department truck driver for the city of Middleton, CT, was injured in a one-car crash in 2013 on an icy road.

Solis was coming into work because of snow and ice on the roads.

He suffered a traumatic brain injury which caused him to have movement impairment, speech difficulty and other lasting effects. He uses a wheelchair but isn’t paralyzed. Solis needs help with things like making meals and showering. He also can’t drive, is otherwise independent but living with his parents, his lawyer told the Connecticut Law Tribune.

Solis had asked for workers’ comp. He was called into work for a snow and ice emergency. The city argued he didn’t have to accept the request to come in since it wasn’t mandatory.

The emergency-call exception says if an employee is called to respond to an emergency from their employer, injuries suffered during their travel to work would be covered by workers’ compensation. It usually applies to police officers and firefighters.

Solis asked for $3.69 million. He and the city have agreed on a settlement for $2 million which will be paid in a lump sum. The case was about to go to trial. Solis’ attorney said she believed the city agreed to the settlement because it realized it would have lost in court.

Solis had earned $52,000 annually. Attorneys calculated how much Solis, 35, would earn for the rest of his life. They also estimated his medical expenses would be more than $900,000.

Under the settlement, the funds will be into a special-needs trust in Solis’ name.

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